Student-led general lectures: Sectio Divina - The Divine Proportion
Start date: Wed, 08 Nov 2006 13:00:00 GMT
Finish date: Wed, 08 Nov 2006 14:00:00 GMT
Sectio divina - the Divine Proportion
ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF MATHEMATICS AND ART 2006
Monday 6 - Friday 10 November
Dr. Holger Waalkens (University of Bristol)
Wednesday 8 November, 2006, 2:30pm
The subject of this lecture is the number or ratio known as the golden mean. Many aspects of the very special nature of this number have been know for several centuries. One of its geometrical features even lead to the notion of a divine section or sectio divina which has often been seen as the essence of completeness and beauty. On a short expedition we will explore how the golden mean is not only exploited by man in architecture and art but by nature itself.
Within mathematics the golden mean belongs to a class of numbers which can be considered as the antipodes of the rational numbers among the real. It is this maximal dissonance as opposed to the resonance associated with rational numbers which gives the golden mean a meaning beyond pure number theory. Interestingly, this property of the golden mean is significant in a fairly recent stability result on mechanical systems. This result will be illustrated by an experiment.
This lecture forms part of our student-led general lectures in mathematics and our festival of mathematics and art. The lecture is aimed at undergraduate students and any other interested parties within the University of Portsmouth.